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Developmental Play

From the very start, babies enjoy exploration. Playful interaction and appropriate toys are important tools for healthy infant development. Nursery® offers insights on how to communicate with your newborn at every age and stage.

0–3 months

Developmental Play 0-3 Months Color Contrast

Color contrast

Because your little one’s eyes are still developing, they may focus best on black and white or high-contrast colors at first. Soft toys with bold stripes or circular patterns help attract their attention. At about 4 months, babies acquire the ability to see different colors.

Developmental Play 0-3 Months Look Mom

Look, Ma, it’s me!

Most infants love looking in the mirror! Safe, unbreakable mirrors that
attach securely to cribs or car seats offer opportunity for discovery.

Developmental Play 0-3 Months Touch

Reach out and touch

Exaggerate your facial expressions and see if your infant mimics your actions. Watch what happens when you stick out your tongue! Help open and close tiny hands and guide your baby to reach and stretch. These games are fun for your newborn and crucial for growth and development.

Developmental Play 0-3 Months Rattle

Shake, rattle and roll

Even before they are able to pick up objects, newborns can experience the connection between motion and noise. Try gently shaking a rattle in a close-range arc and watch as the baby tracks the sound.

4–7 months

Simple, safe toys

Developmental Play 4-7 Months Toys

Provide playthings that are unbreakable, lightweight and pose no choking hazard. Just a few will do. Choose a mix of colorful, textured toys that are easy to store or pack. You can improvise with what’s on hand – babies delight in turning plastic containers and big spoons into musical instruments.

Play space

Developmental Play 4-7 Months Play Space

Spread soft activity mats or colorful, quilted blankets across a clean floor to make room for supervised tummy time and space to roll over.

Chatterbox

Developmental Play 4-7 Months Chatterbox

By now your baby is babbling – and eager to hear you talk back! Engage your little one in conversation and listen closely. Cherish these sounds – baby talk is fleeting.

8–12 months

Developmental Play 8-12 Months Mobile

Going mobile

Well-placed pillows and push toys encourage babies to sit up, stand up and hold on as they begin taking their first steps. Just stay close – and be ready to steady them as they go.

Developmental Play 8-12 Months New Skills

New skills

As babies approach the one-year mark, they learn lots of new moves including dropping objects into containers and then retrieving them, looking for things that are hidden and the clever trick of intentionally throwing down whatever you pick up – over and over again!

Developmental Play 8-12 Months Sharing Activities

Sharing activities

Play patty-cake or peek-a-boo. Read stories on a regular basis. More than anything you can ever buy, your baby cherishes time together with you.

Developmental Play 8-12 Months Game

Game on

Now is the time to introduce playthings that educate and enrich: toys that spin or open and shut, building blocks and nesting cups that roll or fit inside one another.

Developmental Play Safety

Safety first

As always, your baby’s safety is the top priority. Make sure as you introduce new activities or toys, they are age appropriate. Also, check the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website for any questions or guidelines on toy safety, including current recalls at cpsc.gov.